Girls with Guitars (and Broken Web Sites)

(This entry is mostly about technical standards on the web – not, as it might seem at first, my dubious musical taste)

I’m a sucker for a pretty girl with a jangly guitar. And we all know that I’m a geek. So I was interested in the idea of Sandi Thom who supposedly[1] got her record deal after webcasting a series of gigs from her Tooting basement. But it was only this week, after seeing adverts for her first single on TV, that I decided to investigate further by visiting her web site.

All I saw when I got there was a flowery border and a message saying that I didn’t have the right version of Flash installed. Now, I have Flash, but it’s version 7 as that’s the most recent version that’s available for Linux. But Sandi’s site required version 8. Well, I say “required” because that’s the version that the Javascript was looking for, but I have no way of knowing whether or not they actually needed version 8 or whether that’s just the default setting on the version checking program they are using.

Without the correct version of Flash the site is useless. They make no attempt to support people without Flash. Not even a contact address. I wasn’t sure if they realised what a disappointing face they were presenting to Linux users so I emailed the webmaster. Only to get a bounce message saying that the domain didn’t have a webmaster address. So I emailed the postmaster pointing out that their mail system is misconfigured. Only to get another bounce message saying that the domain didn’t have a postmaster account either. So I looked up the technical contact for the domain and copied both of my messages to him. Haven’t had a response yet.

It’s great, of course, that the web makes it so easy to publish stuff to the whole world. But I just wish that a few more people would realise that the web is much easier to use when certain simple standards are followed. I assume that the Flash site was build by some web design agency. You’d hope that they would know enough to set up a web site that worked properly. But, of course, that’s too much to ask for. Most people selling themselves as experts on the internet have no idea about the underlying standards and protocols.

Ok. Rant over. I expect I’ll end up buying Sandi’s album from Amazon.

Update: The one part of Sandi’s site that I can reach without Flash is the forum. Which is all a bit scary as most of her fans seen to be illiterate teenage girls.

[1] I say “supposedly” as a story in today’s Guardian throws some doubt on this.


  1. But MySpace terrifies me. All those teenagers with terrifyingly bad web design skills :-)Ok. I’ll take a look.But it doesn’t excuse the official site for being so crap.

  2. Sandi Thom’s I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair) was also released last July (albeit with a very different cover from that of the current release, and a different B-side). I bought it after hearing it on Radio 2 (mainly played by Johnny Walker), and it got to about number 68 in the charts.I find it hard to believe that none of the major record labels listen to Radio 2, and that they hadn’t noticed her until her webcasts.

  3. Smylers,That explains why I’ve seen two versions of the single listed on various sites.Old version – released October 2005 on Hungry DogNew version – released May 2006 on RCAIt also explains why Karma Download have an artist page for her with no music. It was obviously there to promote last years (failed) campaign. And now she’s successful, Sony don’t want any un-DRMed copies of her single for sale.

  4. I did install version 8, but I’m still getting “You currently do not have the necessary Macromedia Flash plug-in to view this page” under Firefox. It’s only working in IE.

  5. Yeah, it works at home on Firefox, but not at work. Don’t know what the problem is. (Maybe reinstall, but not important enough to worry about at work). Oh, well…

  6. Second this from Fedora.myspace does work, but it can be terrifically slow, impossible to use with tabs, no more than one instance can be open. you really need to register (if not take emo photo’s of oneself just to avoid it playing music at you automatically – a crime).

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.